Vegan pizza: A failure of execution…

Lesson: looks ≠ taste

After almost four weeks of being vegan, I became ambitious and tried my hand at vegan pizza. Looks tasty, no?

I started with a bread recipe that came highly recommended, but turned out less than stellar in practice. I substituted wheat flour thinking of health and got heavy dense bread. It didn’t help that my crust was far, far, far too thick (lacking a rolling pin).

I also failed in the pizza sauce, not mixing in enough spices (oregano, garlic, salt, pepper).

Worst of all, I opted for the cheaper fake cheese veggie shreds. The higher quality, more expensive Daiya cheese-like veggie shreds work. These were an epic fail, despite promising to melt.

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Who needs turkey?

Stew

It’s Thanksgiving. What do you do when you don’t eat meat?

Use vegetable protein. Mmmm…

Green and leafy + fungus

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Carbon steel wok vs. tofu

Dry fry

My first attempt at cooking with tofu was a disaster. Mushy, flavorless, goo.

This time, I tried the vegetarian equivalent of the sausage grillers’ “slow and low” mantra: the tofu dry fry.

After slicing up a big brick of extra-firm tofu, I browned the individual pieces over the course of an hour. Not exactly economical in terms of time, but absolutely worth the effort.

Mmmm...

The low heat essentially dries out the tofu with minimal burning. The result is a slightly crispy sponge of tofu that soaks up marinade. As soon as they had browned, the pieces of tofu went into a bowl of teriyaki, garlic, black and red pepper.

The whole mix was then stir fried up with onions, mushrooms, corn, kelp noodles and more garlic.

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Kale chips ahoy!

Super(snack)food

A week-and-a-half ago, I found a two pound bag of kale for $2.50 at my grocer. That made for good kale stir fry and soup. But as I’ve raved about kale, everyone keeps telling me to bake up kale chips.

So this afternoon, while trying to wade through grad school reading, I also tossed the remainder of my kale bag in oil, shook on some Old Bay and they’re baking away as I type.

Timer just beeped. Now for the tasting.

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Elemental dinner

Simple

I get immense satisfaction from cooking basic foodstuffs that are healthy and turn out incredibly tasty. I realize that many people know how to cook far better, but this is a new leaf for me.

Above, left to right: Red lentils, diced tomatoes mixed with diced green peppers, a to-be-diced white onion, chopped green onions. Mostly organic.

Boil the lentils until they’re about half-way to tender in a stainless steel pot, throw in everything else, spice with black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, lots of thyme and a tiny bit of sugar.

Salt to taste. Boil the rest of the way until the lentils are finished.

Finished product below.

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Hello giant Bag of Kale…

Healthy never tasted so good...

…meet my good friend, Carbon Steel Wok. Also, say hi to his buddies, garlic, onions, tomatoes, canola, cayenne and black beans.

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Old Bay and my domestic Indian lifestyle

And some of you laughed at me for bringing along Old Bay

And some of you laughed when I brought along Old Bay

I love photos of domestic settings. There are so many little details to absorb. The one above, though not particularly stunning, is my kitchen.

At the time, I was making some noodle “curry.” The dented can of Old Bay Seasoning, the best salt on the face of this planet, was one of the many things I carried here in my overstuffed backpack. Thank God.

Though I’ve been traipsing about the world, as you’ll see below, I do lead a rather domestic life from time to time.

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